Gilmore Ekes Out Convention Win for Senate Nomination

Posted May 31, 2008 at 2:32pm

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore narrowly beat out state Del. Bob Marshall today at the Virginia Republican Party convention in Richmond to secure his party’s nomination in the commonwealth’s open Senate seat battle. Gilmore, an anti-tax conservative, came into the convention as the favorite after Rep. Tom Davis (R) chose to pass on the race last fall. But Marshall, a darling of Christian conservatives who is staunchly opposes gay rights and abortion rights, put up a tough fight. Despite being far better-known statewide, Gilmore captured less than 51 percent of the delegate vote this afternoon. Gilmore will now face another former governor, Mark Warner (D), in the race to replace retiring Sen. John Warner (R). Mark Warner will be his party’s official nominee after the state Democratic convention, which will take place June 13-15 in Hampton. Gilmore, who has been aiming much of his campaign rhetoric at Mark Warner for months, emerges from his nomination fight in a difficult financial situation. The one-time head of the Republican National Committee has raised about $1 million for his Senate race and has about $250,000 in cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports. And while that amount far exceeded the less than $80,000 that Marshall raised for his campaign, it is nowhere near the $8 million that Mark Warner has amassed since announcing his Senate bid last year. Mark Warner also has a personal fortune that is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. – John McArdle